tv Your Business MSNBC May 31, 2014 2:30am-3:01am PDT
he came up with a high tech solution to an old school problem. checking your coat in the digital age. plus, some spicy business advice from the ceo of chipotle. and they created dog treats even a human could like. >> a brownie so it's caron and pumpkin. >> a new year of entrepreneurial which is dumb coming up on "your business." small businesses revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that's why we are proud to
present "your business" on msnbc. hi there everyone. happy new year, it's great to see you this week. i'm jj ramberg. welcome to "your business." there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there using technology to shake up old school businesses. just think of uber, a company worth billions which simply makes it so we can reserve a car service on our smart phone and track it as it picks us up. uber took an industry, made it more efficient with technology and voila, customers went wild for it. today we meet a student of entrepreneurship who saw this same type of opportunity with the old coat check business. he's growing his company because he's changing a system that had not caught up with the times.
>> derek had just about had it. >> i hate the claim ticket. >> a college student at a college bar he lost his coat in a place he thought was safe. >> i hid my coat somewhere. it got taken when i went to find it it wasn't there. what's annoying is these nightclubs don't offer a coat check. >> he wasn't just any college student. he was a senior majoring in entrepreneurship at indiana university. and he didn't just lose his coat. he found an opportunity. >> i went to the bar owners, i asked why they didn't provide a coat check. they told me some tried, some had not. some didn't think of providing it. i said you mind if i come in and get rax and set it up and see if i could do this? like yeah. do it next week. >> he borrowed $500 from his parents, bought cheap rax and hangers and launched coat check.
his first client was killroy sports bar, the same place his jacket mysteriously disappeared. >> derek handled everything. he set it up, tore it down, checked the coats, had the insurance. it was hands off for us. >> killroy saw the benefit of derek's coat check in the bottom line. not only was it better for customers who no longer had to worry about their coat, it was better for the bar which was now able to serve drinks at tables that used to be piled with coats. killroys made the coat check mandatory. with 1,000 on busy nights derek's business took off. >> we had three. in the peak season we made about $50,000. the margins were huge. >> derek still had a pretty old school model. and he and his partner jerry hayes thought if it were to be successful coat checks needed a 21st century makeover. >> he was making a lot of money
and i said what do you want to be in the coat checks business for. i made $50,000 in four months. let's sit down, map this out. so yeah, he was doing really well. you have to find a way to replicate his process. >> from his time at killroys derek knew all of the kinks in the process. forgotten coats, lost tickets t the fact that so many people have black jackets. and the crush of people at closing. all wanting their coats back at exactly the same time. >> people don't understand how stressful it is for coat checkers. can we build something that makes it easier, to track everything but make it easier. >> he could. a coat check for today's customer. one that runs on a phone or tablet takes photos of the jackets as they are checked in and tracks each hanger with a code. and for the customer, no more paper ticket, just waiting to be lost. your phone number is your claim
ticket. >> nobody thought of using an iphone or ipad to check in a coat or check in a valet. the technology is there. it's a matter of building the program. >> with the app derek made the move from indiana to new york, and has snagged some huge clients. this year he's testing coat checks at large venues like the theater at madison square garden. and at high profile events like new york fashion week. with plans to turn his business into a franchise model. >> we've got our first major contract to do the fashion week event and the customers were delighted with it. and really, the light went off like this is where we need pivot to. high end events working with brands. not only are you providing a great service but it's a cooler way of engaging with your customers. >> this area engaging with the customer, that derek and gerry see having potential for growth not only in delivering their
coats but in delivering information. >> people don't like receiving a text in the middle of the day to say come to our nightclub on sunday. if you text them as they get there, hey, thanks for coming, here's what's going on. as they leave, thanks for coming, this is what's going on down the road. those are points when people are engaged with the venue or with what's going on. and that's a great point to interact with them. >> and that kind of customer intimacy is something potential customer webster hall in new york city is very interested in. >> being able to take the customer data when they check in and tie it into our pos systems to see their customer history, we can better serve them, we know hey, last time you had a vodka soda. you want us to have one ready for you. knowing what's going on with people and their habits. >> we're looking to disrupt this industry, to change how things are done. we're looking to make things more secure, give people peace of mind, to trust these
services. and but until we eliminate that claim ticket i'm not going to be -- that's the goal. if you're a retailer, it's unfortunate but of course you have to worry about products walking out the door unpaid for. so here we have for you five low tech ways to prevent shoplifting. one, put out the welcome mat. shoplifters want to be anonymous so make eye contact and greet every customer that walks into the store. two, keep your shelves neat. if your store is unorganized and messy it's more likely that missing inventory will go unnoticed. three, let there be light. address dark poorly lit areas in your stores like corners or behind the shelves. four, have a secret code. have a signal for employees to alert them of suspicious activities, the cue should be easy to remember and not
identifiable enough to make a customer feel targeted. and five, keep a clear line of sight. if an employee or other customer can easily see the crime happening, thieves are less likely to steal so don't create hidden barriers. for all of you who have vowed to get more organized this year and i suspect that is a lot of you, listen up. our website of the week can help. trelo.com is a tool that helps keep you and your team on track. you can add projects, called boards, and then lift everything that needs to get done to complete them as well as assigned tasks. you can have as many as you want to have access to make comments and changes and updates are made in real time across platforms. 20 years ago steve els, the founder of chipotle opened his first restaurant in denver. els who considers himself a chef
first broke all of the rules with chipotle and helped by using fresh high quality sustainable ingredients. the chain now has more than 1,550 restaurants and serves nearly a million customers a day. he talks to us about hiring the right people, transparency, and making sure the customer gets exactly what they want. so luckily, i didn't know the fast food rules. i didn't know what made for a fast food model. i certainly had eaten fast food growing up. but i didn't really understand the economics or the mechanics behind fast food. i knew what i learned in cooking school. how to source food and how to cook according to classic cooking tech nicks and i learned how to create an environment.
so, those are the things that i took to chipotle which wasn't typical for fast food so. really elevated all of the different parts of the fast food model. >> one of the things that customers really appreciated about about chipotle from the very beginning was this interactive service model. where people get exactly what they want, not only for taste but for diet also. and that's a theme that has proven itself out to be very, very important over the years as you see different diet fads, diet trends, we stay focused on a few things. on the surface it looks like we have very focused menu. some people said limited, i like to say focused. but it's the combinations that you can make from all of those ingredients, it allows you to really pay particular attention to all of the details that goes into making something really great.
part of the model of chipotle i think has led to our success is this idea of transparency. certainly there's transparency when the customer walks in they can look in the kitchen. it's exciting for people. there is another part of this that is important also, that wasn't so obvious to me at the beginning, but it has to do with sourcing. so we want to make sure that we're very, very transparent about our sourcing. we want people to understand exactly where we're buying our food and who is raising the food. and we don't want there to be any mystery. the more transparency there is at chipotle the more attractive i think people will be to it and our mission to make more sustainably raised food available to everybody. top per following people want to be around other top performing people. and they want to know that they have a future ahead of them and they want to know that they are
going to be respected and that they are going to be part of something really great. so, we've been doing an amazing job of bringing in people who otherwise would not have thought about getting into the restaurant business or even the fast food business. so we look for certain kinds of characteristics that you can't teach. we look for people who are enthusiastic, people who are honest, and smart. we can teach people the business. we can teach people how to cook. we can teach people how to run a restaurant. you can't teach people how to be hospitable though. we encourage our managers to look for some basic characteristics that we think are going to provide for great future leaders. we have a lot more ideas about how to kick start your small business in the new year. including how to find the right person do advise on your company's marketing strategy and how to market a b to b business. and i head out to bubba's bakery in new jersey to check out the
dog treats thats that company's four-legged customers going wild. if i can impart one lesson to a new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner. we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone. there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. if i were to look back the bankruptcy when i was 23 years old taught me a tremendous lesson and it taught me to
really watch the business end of the business because being a creative person, having all of these dreams and all of these ideas is all well and good. but if you don't have that business acyou men and if you don't know how to balance the creative with the business, you end up with nothing. >> now here are three things you need to know this week about small business. a new gallup poll shows small business owners are split over whether the minimum wage should be raised. of those surveyed 47% said it should be raised from the current $7.25 to $9.50. 50% disapproved. legal services company rocket lawyer surveyed 1,000 small business owners about their outlook for the year. 80% expect 2014 to be better than 2013. 35% say they will hire more employees in the next six months. and, which state is the friendliest to small business? according to the small business and entrepreneurial council's
yearly rankings, south dakota is first, based on economic and policy environment. nevada and texas follow. that moment when the light bulb goes off can happen at any time. for one couple on their honeymoon when they missed their dog and decided they needed to start a company that he could be part of. peanut butter macaroons, cream filled bonbons. looking at these is love to bust your diet. but hands off. they are not for you. >> here you go. >> that is, unless you walk on all fours. seven years ago chefs eric and jessica opened up their dream business. >> we decided to start a dog bakery on our honeymoon. we wanted to work for ourselves. >> neither one of us had run a business. >> in the beginning we worked out of our kitchen apartment. we don't use any chemicals. there is nothing you can't name. it's simple clean ingredients.
>> their idea was to create all natural organic treats for pets. in two years devout customers were begging for more. >> how many work here? >> six of us. eric, myself and four employees. >> so six of you to make enough baked goods for how many stores? >> 950. >> wow. >> when weighs the last time you pulled an all night center. >> yesterday. >> once, just a mom, pop and pooch store. today it's competing with the big dogs. >> going to hong kong. >> on line and in gourmet shops. >> our gross sales will be over 2 million by the end of this year. it's exciting. it helps that the snack tastes good. there is no liver. >> these are tasty. that's a brownie so it's pumpkin, it's got a yogurt coating and caron chips. >> i need a bowl of milk and i'm set. >> with new treats always in
development, they are constantly asking for customer feedback. though my focus group seemed a little distracted. >> bark if you like the second one best. raise your paw if you liked the first one. like the brown sne guys? >> we get amazing phone calls and e-mails, i get pictures of every dog's birthday celebration. i love our customers. >> and the feeling is mutual. once customers fall in love the only issue is they never want to leave. >> let's go. come on. it's time to answer some of your business questions. let's get our board of directors in to help us. the co-founder and ceo of indy go-go. and denise is a founding partner and ceo of the s-3 agency, an ad agency with a special focus on social media. great to see both of you guys. >> thanks so much. >> great to see you here again in the studio. happy new year. >> you too. >> right back at you.
>> let's get started with the first question. the first is about expanding your reach overseas. >> i have an international client ele and trying to grow my business and trying to put together a strategic way of marketing shoulding seo, advertising and direct contact with my clients. but i'm not sure how to find the right person or company to help me succeed in this. >> you need to hire marketing agency who has some experience internationally. >> you do. i really admire that you're looking toward digital because that is the way to go international especially for a start-up. i did look at what you are doing, you have a unique product with the quick release belly ring. branding. don't forget branding. if you can find someone who does branding first and also can execute digitally you will create something more than a product that can be competed out of the marketplace. so a great way to do that is networking like you want to do
digital branding and focus consumers, go to linkedin, to fans, if you can find one of your fan who is has branded experience and great at digital and love what is you are creating you've got the trifecta. >> she's talking about going international. and what you're talking about makes a lot of sense and we do it here, how do you get that same experience overseas? do you target specific countries? how do you go forward with it? >> i mean i think that's a really good question. in terms of the networking piece i think it's important for her to find an individual like was mentioned through linkedin or other resources. i would look at is there already a customer in that market that maybe wants to work with you. if they are passionate about your product they can figure out the culture and differences in that geography. but going global is challenging. it's an exciting thing. >> the next question is a question about a lack of direct competition. >> we are one of the largest
employee perks provider in north america. we are wondering how can we stay motivated and grow the business without big competitors. >> i love that question because when you have competitors you worry that people are nipping at your heels. if you don't you can get lazy and somebody sneaks up and you know what happens then. so how do you get that kind of fear almost when it doesn't exist? >> i think competition a great thing. it means there is a market and other people are going after it. if there is a situation you feel like there is not a competitor now you need to set milestones and compete against yourself a. good sway what is your north star, what are you trying to accomplish, your dream scenario. obviously you're not there yet and one step at a time like a ladder. that way you feel like you have to compete against yourself against a deadline to hit those steps on the ladder. >> that's a good idea. maybe you make up a competitor, pretend, company x entered our
market. would we be doing anything differently or not. >> i think there is a mistake when you say there is no competitor. there is always a competitor. if i make potato chips i might not think apples are a competitor. there is a wider field, they are doing company perks and that is something if your company isn't using them you are using something else so by default you are using a competitive product. think of them as using your competitor. >> i think part what if she talking about is this outside pressure to keep his employees motivated. and there are other ways to keep your employees motivated and excited about pushing out products and working hard to what you're saying, make internal milestones. >> absolutely. >> it could be anything from hey, we need to deliver this brand new product feature by a deadline, it could be you know we only grew 10% last quarter. why shouldn't we grow 30%. or think about other ways of
incentivizing. >> i think deed lines are good for this for motivating people. finally we have this question about getting the word out about your start-up. >> i am a very new business, i just opened six weeks ago and i am trying to find the best way to launch my campaign to run my business, let people know in their neighborhood that i have my doors open. >> she's a coffee place, your client for a second. what would do you? >> i would say immediate is the focus. immediate attention in your immediate area so. heimer local is the way to go and think about with ways. groupon can bring people in. have local bloggers come tine taste the coffee, experience what's different and then amplify the message to their network. it's important. >> these are word of mouth, right? >> absolutely. i think the number one marketing campaign for a coffee shop is having good product. which is if you have good coffee and a good location, good
experience people will talk about it. you want to get the word out besides one customer at a time. the younger the more intimate relation in terms of marketing. if you have been around you can use news letters and other things. you need to be super local, you need to talk one customer at a time. maybe an event. once a month where people talk about first friday is where you go to this coffee shop to get a 50% discount and that sort of consistency can get people to come. >> make a partnership negotiation to the local hair salon, i'll give you free coffee for a week and serve it as they get their hair done. i feel like if local businesses, we've been going around main streets around the united states this year and the ones that really work together seem to be working the best. on these kind of main street type businesses. >> and ones that work within the community having a loyalty program is always a great way to get first triers to be buyers. >> denise, so nice to see you guys, i hope you have a
fantastic new year. we'll see you many times throughout year. >> we answer questions from our viewers every single week here on "your business." if you have one let us know. you can go to our website, the address openforum.com/yourbusiness. hit the ask to submit a question or e-mail us. firstname.lastname@example.org. time for our 140-character piece of wisdom or a few. here are some helpful inspiring tweets recently. entrepreneurial consultant ty goodwin posted good advice. choosing a target audience doesn't limit you, it increases the odds of you connecting with people willing to pay for your services. our friend brian with this observation. i noticed more companies going the co-ceo thing. used to be taboo but seems to be making a comeback. and these words from event
company entrepreneur week. stupid questions are better than stupid mistakes. it's obvious that social media is a highly valuable tool for many businesses but far too often it goes overlooked in the b to b world. customers use facebook and twitter. so social media might be a key component of your marketing strategy. bobby harris is the founder, president and ceo of blue grace logistics, a third party logistics provider. was awarded an inc 50020th fastest growing privately held company. congratulations. that's a big honor. not an honor, you guy desire the work. congratulations. >> thank you. >> let's talk about social media. we talk a lot about it on business to consumer. but i'm a business and i want to talk to another business. what rule does social he'dia have?
>> it allows people supporting your brand to engage the other businesses that you're working with. so you are able to talk to them on a day-to-day basis. allows them to know everybody in your company, allows them to not know just your brand but the people behind the brand. >> give me an example. let's make this concrete. give me an example of a company that might do this. >> there's say a large shipping company and they push out a lot of products every day with your company. maybe they have 200 employees, and maybe five of those people are the economic buyers. but at the same time they are usually -- those five are usually engaging two to three people in your company. if they are engaged with you on a social media platform many times almost the entire company knows your entire company. it's very powerful. >> so everyone from my customer's company is actually following my twitter feed and everyone in my company is following this as well so we're all in this together. okay. so when i'm doing that it's different than when i'm talking to customers. do you suggest that you allow a lot of employees to write on
your twitter feed, for instance? >> we do. >> you do. >> that's the big difference. you don't just want marketing handling your twitter or facebook. you want everybody engaged. every person in your company, to be engaged with all of your clients. and each other. >> so any one in the company you say go for it. onto our company anytime speak to other companies, not to consumers but to our customers who are other companies. write what you want. >> exactly. >> and you've got to put guidelines around there i imagine. >> we have what we call open social media policy. it's a very interesting subject to say the least because they take those social media platforms home with them and they represent you. whether you are doing social media at your company or not people at your company are and they have the right to speak about you and the business. >> in b to c it's very important to create a personality, right, you want to have a personality, have people engaged with you, want to hear what you have to say whether it's funny or --
whatever it is. smart. whatever it is. you want them to like you because then they buy your product. in b to b do you find that same kind of thing? >> you do. but don't see such a direct correlation. we have like for instance, a twitter feed is handled by one set person under the name of bluegrace. but more importantly, most of my employees have like bg in their twitter handle so when they talk people know that they are working at bluegrace and they represent us, but not necessarily in all of their views and everything but we want them to know there are real people behind the scenes. >> thank you for talking about this. appreciate it. >> thank you. thanks so much everyone for joining me today. and remember, you can revisit the show on our website, it's openforum.com/yourbusiness. we'll post all of today's segments plus some web exclusive interviews and tips. you can follow us on twitter. it's @msnbcyourbiz and on facebook too. next tweak role of equity when trying to get your business off
the ground. >> when there's no physical currency given, there's no other way to value someone's time and effort but with equity. that's only currency you have. >> we'll talk about how one company's equity breakdown shifted over time and why these two entrepreneurs say a 50-50 ownership split isn't a bad thing. till then i'm jj ramberg. remember, we make your business our business. if i can impart one lesson to a new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner. we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone.
there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. shinseki out. hillary definitely in. this is "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. let's start tonight with this battle over benghazi. secretary clinton has blown the bugle on this front, making it clear she's going to go punch to punch with any republican trying to battle her in her book about life as secretary of state, blasting those who, in her words, try to exploit this as a political tool. she said she will refuo